A Catholic, college-preparatory school, grades 7-12
Jr. High Participates in Model UN

Jr. High Participates in Model UN

March 21, 2017

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Eighteen junior high students in Mr. Josh Belanger’s Life Skills class traveled to New York to participate in a Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) conference. The MMUN is all about inspiring youth to create a better world where students have a voice for justice and morality.

Participating in a two-day global education simulation experience at the United Nations, they had the opportunity to debate over current global issues with other middle school students from all over the world.“This experience exposed our students to real world situations and involved them in the process of trying to make the world a better place,” Belanger said.

Each student was tasked with being the UN delegate for their assigned nation. They prepared position papers, made presentations and debated over issues including Nuclear Disarmament, Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space and more.

BSM 8th grader, Connor Rahill presented on the Advancement of Women and The Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children. He was thrilled to hear other students’ ideas on these global issues. “I was very excited to meet students from foreign countries. It was great to hear their thoughts and ideas on the problems our world is facing and their propositions to solve these problems.”

Mr. Josh Belanger and Director of Learning and Technology, Steve Pohlen, have been preparing for this experience since last spring when they attended a two-day conference with Judith Cunningham, the founder and director of MMUN. From this, Pohlen and Belanger created an after school club and Belanger adopted MMUN into the Life Skills curriculum. In fact, students started meeting bi-weekly back in October. They were assigned countries and topics, and in between those meetings, took the initiative to conduct their own research. Stas Bednarski ('21) shared how he and his peers prepared: “We went through proceedings, committee rules and did a mock committee session at school. It was very helpful, and taught us not only how to participate in the conference but also how to use our time wisely.”

The goal of the conference was for students to develop an understanding of the issues and needs people face across the globe. “Model UN fosters confidence, creativity, and complex problem solving. Our students learned leadership skills as they explored complicated issues from a global perspective. We wanted them to be as prepared as they could be before we traveled to New York,” Steve Pohlen said.

“I think that Model UN was a great experience. More schools should have this opportunity for students. It gave me a sense of independence. It also gave me the confidence to choose a country like South Sudan where there is a threatening problem and a challenging one to solve,” said Ava Krueger ('21).

Overall, the Model UN was an eye opening experience for our junior high students. We want our 7th and 8th grade Red Knights to explore opportunities that both interest and challenge them. This trip pushed students to think critically, creatively and with empathy to work toward a more peaceful world. #BSMProud

 
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